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Chinatown 11, Fema 9, Paul Barrett 9, Romney 8, Obama 8, Helena Wong 7, New York 7, Amy Goodman 6, Sandy 5, Us 5, Manhattan 4, Chris Christie 4, Sandusky 3, Michael Bloomberg 3, United States 3, Superstorm Sandy 3, Massachusetts 3, Brooklyn 3, St. Louis 3, Missouri 3,
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  WHUT    Democracy Now    Series/Special. Current  
   Events & News in the World  

    November 2, 2012
    6:00 - 7:00pm EDT  

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>> nyc and st. louis, missouri, this is "democracy now!" that is the cover of the new.@ bloomberg businessweek as millions remain without power following superstorm sandy. we will speak with the magazine's editor paul barrett on the link between climate change and intensifying storms. meanwhile, new york mayor michael bloomberg has endorsed president obama, citing his views on climate change. we will get a report from brooklyn, where occupied activists are teaming up with local groups to help survivors of the storm. we will speak with helena wong about relief efforts in
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chinatown. all of that and more coming up. welcome to "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we are broadcasting from new york city and st. louis, missouri. the death toll of superstorm sandy along the eastern seaboard has jumped to 98 as more bodies are recovered by the dead. 40 people have been killed in new york city, half of them on staten island, which was overcome with devastating flooding. staten island residents have criticized local and federal officials for allegedly ignoring recovery there, saying they're in desperate need of aid. new york city is facing criticism for continuing with its famed annual marathon nday, , spite calls for postponement. supporters of a delay have argued the marathon will divert attention and resources from
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aiding the hundreds of thousands who still lacked power and are in need of relief. utility officials have predicted that electricity will be mostly restored to lower manhattan by the weekend. though several million from long island to new jersey could be in the dark for a least another week, some 1.6 million people remain without power in new jersey. it is e state hardest hit by the storm. new jersey officials have disclosed some 336,000 gallons of diesel fuel spilled into the waterway when l facility was hit by flooding on monday night. the spill reportedly has been contained by booms placed in the water. estimates of the economic damage caused by superstorm sandy, meanwhile, have topped $50 billion, more than double previous estimates. the storm has also caused a major shortage of fuel, prompting long lines at gas stations across the new york area.
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president obama has returned to the campaign trail after suspending events to address the aftermath of superstorm sandy. on thursday, obama picked up endorsements from former republican and now independent new york mayor michael bloomberg. in an op-ed article, he wrote that obama is best equipped to tackle climate change in light of the devastation that hurricane sandy brought to new york city and much ofhehe northeast. bloomberg also cited obama's support for abortion rights and same-sex marriage while noting that republican challenger mitt romney has reversed course after previously holding sensible positions. new figures sho companies added 158,000 jobs last month, the fastest pace in eight months. the figures were released by the payroll processor adp and the eve of today's official employment report from the labor department. former penn state president
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graham spanier has been indicted for his role in the cover-up of child sex abuse by former assistant football coach jerry sandusky. he was initially charged one year ago after it was revealed he and other top penn state officials failed to report sandusky to police, despite evidence that sandusky was abusing young boys. he was convicted in june of molesting 10 boys and sentenced to up to 60 years in prison. on thursday, greenspan year wass child with -- charged with several charges for having sandusky's crime. two other former penn state officials were hit with new charges as well. in massachusetts, a physics graduate has been sentenced to 17 years in prison for planning to build explosives to attack the pentagon and u.s. capitol. the fbi says he conducted detailed surveillance to map out the attack and acquired a small
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aircraft as part of his plan to carry it out. the plot would have marked the first time militants deployed the drone technology used by the united states to strike targets in foreign countries for an attack inside the united states. he was caught with the help of undercover agents posing as al qaeda operatives who gave him the money to buy the drones. the tactic that is led to allegations of entrapment. a new video has been released from syria showing arm troubles executing a grpp ogovernmentnt soldiers. on the tape, 10 prisoners were forced to lie on top of one another at an overrun military checkpoints. anti-government fighters are seen kicking and taunting the captured soldiers before opening fire. amnesty international has condemned the footage saying its picks "utter disregard for international humanitarian l new reports warning global
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inequality has reached a 20-year high. according to the group save the children, poverty that havee previously been concentrated in the world's lowest income countries is now on the rise in middle income countries, which account for 70% of the world's poor. those are some of the headlines. welcome to "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we are broadcasting from st. louis, missouri, from missouri public television and from new york city. over 4 million people have entered their fourth day without power across 12 states, folling theevastating superstorm sandy. concern is growing for people who lack food, water, and heat. we begin today's show in the brooklyn neighborhood of red hook, one of the hardest-hit areas of the city. it is home to one of the largest public housing developments in the city. on wednesday, "democracy now!" team interviewed a number of people who survive the storm. we began outside the red hook
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initiative, a community organization that has teamed up with and occupy wall street offshoot called occupy sandy to provid batteries, and other supplies to local residents. >> it is like a war zone out here. there are people in wheelchair'' that cannot get downstairs because the elevators are out. it is bad out here. >> we do not have any services out here. they're not even coming. >> i am a former employee of the initiati and just maybe a year-and-a-half ago -- this has been paof my home and community. i come back to volunteer to do what needs to be done. unfortunate, because of the devastation that happened, people are without food, water,
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lights, and a lot of the basic needs. >> the collaborated with a group of volunteers who are going way beyond theireans to give food and clothing, fresh water. >> i am on the board of the red hook initiative. i think occupy sandy people who are alumni of occupy wall street sent out the word that we needed food. this is sort of a combination of residents, volunteers, one of the only places in the neighborhood that retained electricity during the storm. we open our door in part because nobody could get any information or plug in their funds, so we are here -- we open up our plugs to the community. volunteers started showing up with food. people have been on facebook and twitter asking what they can do. we're trying to get people to
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drop off non perishables, candles, flashlights, batteries. one of the biggest things we hear is just how dark it is at night. now it is starting to get cold. >> i just responded to a call on line through it and occupy website that they needed volunteers down here today. this is always open, during committee services -- doing community service. we have been here since around 10:00 this morning. we have had breakfast, hot lunch, snacks all day. we will serve hot dinner at 6:00. >> i am one of the owners of homemade catering. this is my kitchen. what happened monday? well, the superstorm. most of red hookers staying put. we have organized of who was open, who was close, who had
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what resources permit a bunch of us are sitting here playing cards, listening to music when the water started coming up pioneer street. slowly, but slow-fast. it was not like a tall -- tidal wave, but it was crawling at a rapid and abt 15 minutes, it wentt from the in the pioneer to our stoop. >> i don't believe what i am seeing, you know? and never in my life did i get scared like monday. never in my life. >> my address is 99 peña street, brooklyn, new york. at we experienced on monday was the worst part of the storm. we had water the completely
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filled the basement. ours were almost submerged in water. -- the cars were almost submerged in water. the electricity went. [indiscernible] it is like man against mother nature and mother nature won. >> i would never wish a storm like this on my worst enemy. it just shut life down. it makes man realize who he really is. see? it gives you time to think. it gives you time to think about who you really are, what purpose you really have. there is a loss of self- searching that goes on. >> i and the youth and harm the
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program coordinator here at added value and we operate the community farm, which is where we are now it basically, the farm was completely flooded. it looks like it was up to around 4 feet, by looking at the marks in the greenhouse. all of the crops were covered. there were covered with water from the harbor. we will not be able to sell any of that anymore. i grew up in red hook. there are people on my block to have lived here for decades and decades and have never seen anything like this. hopefully now this is the wake up call -- i don't have electricity so i have not been listening to the news, but i heard governor cuomo mentioned climate change, said that was something good. the fact it was not mentioned at all during the presidential debates is completely ridiculous, especially when things like this are happening.
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i have a feeling this will become a new normal in a world where temperatures are rising. you know -- it needs to be an issue we're talking about. >> how to the local farms it into the solution? >> i think many people argue that local farms are the solution. the agricultural system is based on using fossil fuels foror pesticides, natural gas, and it just is not make sense. we need to localize production to reduce our carbon footprint. also, small-scale farming has an [indiscernible] i think many people are catching on to small-scale farming. >> a special thank you to mike burke, sam alcoff and jessica lee in red hook, one of the
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hardest-hit areas in the city. welcome to "demoacy now!,"," democracynow.org, the war and eace report. i'm amy goodman. when we come back, it is global warming, stupid. that is the cover story of bloomberg businessweek. we will be joined by its editor and author of the peace, paul barrett. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is "democracy now!,"
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democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we are broadcasting from missouri public television in st. louis and in new york city, where the link between climate change and the devastation brought by superstorm sandy across much of the northeast has been brought into focus. when nyc mayor michael bloomberg endorsed president obama citing his support for the environment. just days before the election, bloomberg announced his decision in an op-ed entitled, "a vote for president, a vote for a president to lead on climate change the." riding -change." he compared the records of obama and mitt romney but he wrote --
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bloomberg's endorsement is particularly striking because much of the news media has barely mentioned climate change, even in the lead up or aftermath of the superstorm. there were also no questions addressed to the presidential candidates on climate change in the course of the three presidential debates. also, mayor bloomberg was a republican who turned independent. one of the news outlets that has broken the silence on climate change is the magazine "bloomberg businessweek." the cover story is called, "it's global warming, stupid." to talk more about the issue, we areoined by the author, paul barrett, assistant managing editor at bloomberg businessweek. it is great to see. lay out this article, "it's global warming, stupid." >> good morning.
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what we've tried to do with the article is make a very straightforward survey of what information we know about climate change a it relates to this most recent storm. i think the crucial point too start with is we are not in a position to say that global warming caused this particular storm, but what we are in a position to say and what the overwhelming majority of scientists, people who know about climate and weather, are saying, is as a result of climate change -- and this is man-made climate change -- we have a larger environment, a larger atmospheric situation in which storms are going to be more severe and in which we're likely to see very, very difficult storms such as this one with more frequency.
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in our article, quoted a guy from the environmental defense fund who knows a lot about this and eric made the analogy to baseball saying, in connection with the disgraced slugger barry bonds, he said, you could not attribute bonds' use of steroids to only one home run he hit, but only a fool would think that steroids had nothing to do with the amount of home runs he hit and how far he hit. i think that is analogy that is good -- i think it is an analogy that is good to think about. there are many factors that go into extreme weather, but overall, the fact the oceans are higher, the wer is warmer, there was more moisture in the atmosphere, that the arctic ice is melting -- those are facts. it is time to accept them.
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>> in fact, when you talk about the arctic ice melting, you talk about what scientists say may be a direct link between that and what you are experiencing in new york and people are expressing along the east coast now. but that is right. what you're talking about now is something specific to sandy. one of the interesting and very relevant things about this particular storm is that it took that very hard sharp left turn into the east coast of the united states rather than drifting out to sea. and one of the theories about why did that had to do with atmospheric patterns that began over the arctic ocean, and resulted in cold air coming down over canada and colliding with the warm air from the hurricane, forming not just an ordinary storm, but this superstorm.
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there has been work on climate -- research has been done that suggests the melting of the arctic ice contributes to these atmospheric patterns and pushed the cold air down, in essence, super energized the storm. it added a lot of energy and geographic reach to the storm, and made it not just an ordinary hurricane but this much more extreme event. that is a good illustration. it is not that there wod nott have been a hurricane. there would have been a hurricane either way, bu became an extraordinary hurricane combined with this cold air from over canada. it seems, as a result of the larger atmospheric patterns change. >> paul barrett, talk about the european insurance company. can you talk about what they are seeing in saying? >> absolutely. i thought it was relevt after
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serving some of the signs to talk about this really interesting report from a german insurance company. it is the insurance that is purchased by other insurance companies as back up insurance. munich re is a company that in one sense that compiles data in a bloodless, profit oriented way in order to figure out what the costs are going to be related to storm hazards among other disasters. this report was put out on october 17, before the storm, before we had any sense it was going to be as extreme as it was. it reported that basically extreme weather has gotten more frequent, more intense, particularly as it happens in north america, and the insurance company is saying that they are now beyond the debate over
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whether climate change is real. they have accepted that, and they are calling on industry to deal with it as a statistical reality. i thought that was a nice accompaniment to the scientific research because the munich re guys are not doing basic climate research, but simply serving the money they pay out over time and saying, we have been paying out more billions in recent decades then we had anticipated and see a trend and we can see no explanation other anan the relationship to global warming. >> in fact, even the pentagon, right? for years, even under the bush @administration, has been saying this is one of the greatest threats in terms of national security in the 21st century. everything from what we're seeing now, the catastrophic of facts, to climate refugees and
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how you deal with people who are moving from one place to another because they are so threatened in their home country. >> that is right. i think one of the interesting questions is when we in the united states will accept that reality. you can see that in mundane, ordinary, day-to-day human terms. will we accept that actually is no longer works to live and barrier islands that at sea level right on the ocean when there will be hurricanes every year? while hurricane 7 part of thatt way of life for a long time, the hurricanes will be more frequent, more intense, and will continue to wash away the towns. we have to ask ourselves serious questions whether we want to spend the billions of dollars to keep rebuilding. at the same time, we will not packed up manhattan and moved it
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away so we're going to have to seriously address whether we need strong protection around lower manhattan, similar to those we have in coastal communities like new orleans.s. this is a very serious question. i think we're going to have to admit that we can live and work and more manhattan, then we need levees and protection there such as other parts of the country. >> what about that issue? the whole issue of bloomberg business be, these coastal communities. it is heartbreaking to see the catastrophe in new jersey, for example. but people who are building in these coastal communities, i mean, the brakes -- the very vulnerable areas that are then bilked? >> this is not just a question of the private marketplace anymore. a lot of these communities, it
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is no longer possible to get private insurance. the insurance companies basically have had it with that marketplace, realizing as they do, strictly dollars and cents analysis, th yououannott profitably ensure towns on barrier islands along the atlantic. uni are -- you and i are injured federally. we need to make a policy as a country, do we want to extend that insurance? we're basically encouraging people to rebuild their houses and restaurants and so forth in those communities. i think we need to have a serious debate about whether that makes any sense. >> we're talking to paul barrett, assistant managing editor at " bloomberg businessweek." his cover story is, "it's global warming, stupid." paul barrett, bloomberg bought
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"businessweek." new york city mayor bloomberg, who a republican, now an independent, who both parties have been courting madly to get his support, came out the same time your article came out saying he is endorsing president obama. talk about the significance of this. >> the first thing to say is it is totally legitimate and obvious to observe that coincidence. the second thing to say is that my bosses at the magazine did not get a phone call from the mayor or any sort of instruction to do this article. he does not participate in any way in the day-to-day, week to week, the month or year your activities of the magazine. we simply have nothing directly to do with him, although, he does own the magazine.
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i was surprised as anyone else that the mayor came out with the endorsement shortly after the magazine came out. at the same time -- >> maybe it is not you, maybe is not mayor bloomberg influencing you, maybe your article influenced mayor bloomberg. >> oh, gosh, i would never presume that. i think mayor bloomberg can make up his own mind on these things. his endorsement of his eyes more than just climate change. he talked about issues from reproductive freedom to gun- control and so forth. so i have to say i think the mayor makes up his own mind, did not look to me or the magazine for guidance. i think it is significant, even if there was not any kind of cause and effecterelionship,p, significant justice see their -- to see it reintroduced into the political debate.
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as you noted, it is pretty remarkable that we have gone through an intense presidential campaign with this large global issue absent from the discussion. one would think and hope and clearly the mayor desires to see the ing taken seriously. you have two candidates, neither talked about the issue very much or at all in the campaign. one of the candidates has action belittle the issue. mitt romney and his acceptance speech at republican national convention actually purported to make fun of president obama for ever having expressed any issue in the rising oceans and the state of the help of the planet. i think it is significant that the of one presidential candidates who just refers to the issue sarcastically, as it is not really an issue. or is president obama, whether you like him or don't like him,
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has taken some of the steps during his presidency to address this issue. after all, he did back the cap and trade legislation that passed the house of representatives in 2009, although, and then died in the senate in 2010 as a result of the republican opposition. >> i wish i could play for you some of the comments of mitt romney and also president obama in the debate. as you said, never once in the three debates was clima change mentioned or global warming. neither by the candidates nor by our colleagues in the press. the did not find it important enough to ask a question about global warming. i cannot play the clubs because our studio remains blacked out without electricity in new york city. but they are famous enough that just talking about them, people remember. quote if mitt romney in his acceptance speech at the
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republican cventntn, and thenn quote president obama in the debates. d isn't that could. rill each other at -- it seemed they could not out-drill each other enough. >> and also the use of coal. we're talking about the electricity market, the fossil fuels, there is always a competition over who loves coal more.. the strange thing about that is, if you know what obama's actual record is, there was a certain distance between his record and comments on coal, as a result of regulation that this administration put in place, rules the proposed, they have done quite a bit in terms of putting feelings on emissions of
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carbon dioxide, mercury, sulfur dioxide than have actually already resulted in big energy companies, utility companies closing a lot of dirty coal plants. we have made some small steps in the direction of shifting from coal to fuel a natural-gas, which emits something like half the carbon dioxide that's coal does, but in the presidential campaign, clearly, president obama's advisers and a ratetecc decision that they were not going to run on that record and instead, i guess because they @see the economy is very fragile and because they did not want to take the design had on, they ended up dueling with romney over who was more enthusiastic about drilling oil and mining coal. >> and a comment by governor
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romney, though he does not like to seem toemind d of this, when he famously said at the republican convention in his nomination -- acceptance speech, "my promise is to help you and your family" after saying president obama slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet. my promise is to help you and your family. interesting how those two issues have merged. >> they have merged because as it pointed out in our article, there are an awful lot of famili in new jersey, on staten island, elsewhere in the mid-atlantic who right now need an awful lot of help and a lot ensive help, by the way, as a result of the rising oceans. when you have higher sea levels, the storm that whips up the sea is going to do more
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damage. that opposition that romney tried to set up really is a false one print the idea that making progress on the environment is somehow at odds with helping ordinary families, that is simply not true. we are going to end up with losses somewhere near $40 billion, $50 billion which will come out of taxpayer to's pocke. that is a hard-nosed, and emotional illustration -- unemotional illustration. these things are iererineded. >> as you point out in your piece, paul barrett, it is not as if mitt romney always felt this way. you're right -- mitt romney has a history of tackling climate change, but that is when he was governor of massachusetts, which he does not like to remind us of.
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>> right. there is a close parallel here, for example, between romney's position of the environment and his position on finance and healthca.. romney was, as governor, a pioneer of moving massachusetts toward a health care system where insurance was available for all people, not just as a humane gesture -- although it is a humane gesture -- but because in the long run, it makes financial sense. as we all know, he has run away from his position on romneycare and somehow suggested that was different from what the president tried to do and what the president accomplished on a national level. and now, similarly, he is trying to forget about this relatively progressive stance on the environment when he was governor of massachusetts. you see this across the board.
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there was a time when he tried@ to appeal to planned parenthood as a strong supporter of what planned parenthood does. today, he wants to defund planned parenthood. when was governor, he was an advocate of certain forms of gun control.l. today, he cannot be friendly enough with the nra and opposing even discussing the issue of gun control. you see this pattern all across the board. he has moved from the center- left although it over to the far right on many issues. >> speaking of defunding, the issue that governor romney has raised and talking about defunding fema, getting rid of fema. >> that is particularly a fascinating e.e. you are referring to his comment during one of the republican primary debates when he was asked directly, what would you
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do about fema? as part of your efforts to shrink the federal government, would you send fema's responsibilities back to the states? his immediate answer was, absolutely. he said, not only would that be a good idea, but possibly you would even turn it over to the private sector. raising ee prospect, what i called in the article, sort of pay as you go rooftop rescue program. where if you had the money, you could be rescued from your flooded house. if you did not, well, too bad. which i think is something that would really be abhorrent to most americans. the time when you really want and appreciates big government, as it is sometimes derided, we need to see the national guard, need to see help coming from the federal government, is when there is an all-out disaster.
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and the idea that you would reflexively say, shut down fema, let the free market handle this problem, to me -- well, it is troubling. >> your article you're right, " is to the rest to service an uphill to plutocrats when the flood risers are rising, folks walked in the national guard." this picture you create, that you evoke of these rooftops where if you have paid for some private security, maybe you will get whisked away on your rooftop. >> it is hard to conceive of. i don't even know whether romney himself when he suggested the private sector was the proper institution to deal with this, i don't know if e w making a serious policy proposal or
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whether he was just pandering to the anti-government, anti- regulatory ideology that has come to grips so much of the republican party. either way, it is an unsettling notion that you would just, with the wave of a hand, shrug off the role of governmentnin the midst of a crisis-type situation. >> paul, i want to ask about this issue of gun control that mayor bloomberg also raised in citing his endorsement for president obama. before i even ask you that, a quick question, the significance of having one of mitt romney's biggest boosters, new jersey governor chris christie, being there with president obama
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saying sort of,"to hell with politics, this is about people's lives." t think we could see a similar endorsement or chris christie says president obama is best on this issue? >> i doubt he would actually say that in so many words. but i think he actually did say something with body language an@ with political theater. it is a very, very important distinction. you saw chris christie snap into pragmatic governor mode, and mode much more similar to the way, for example, mike bloomberg conducts himself as mayor of the city. sure, his ideological views, but when there is a real crunch and
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a real need for leadership, he is not going to stand on -- he is not going to lean toward political posturing and certainly is not going at that point to pretend that the federal government has nothing to do with the health and welfare of american society. i think chris christie was communicating something significant in how he worked with the president and singled out the president's -- by the way, singled out fema for administration, fa actuaual iss functioning effectively. that is a big difference. if you have administration that is constantly dumping on the federal government's capability and undermining the ability of agencies to do what they're supposed to do, well, then you're guaranteeing they will be in effect of any need them. we saw that in connection with katrina and normans, and how
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poorly fema performed. i think it is a striking contrast that now you have a very vociferous republicann governor of new jersey who is saying, fema was there right away and was released on its game. so it is possible for the government to perform poorly impossible for them to perform well. i think the political drama was all played out in new jersey was well worth considering. >> paul barrett, i want to move to the issue of gun control. mayor bloomberg also raise the issue of and control and why he is supporting president obama. he said 2008, obama ran as a pragmatic but-let me see. he ran as a pragmatic problem solver but as president he devoted little time and effort to developing a system in a coalition of centrist, which doomed of repress on illegal
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guns, tax reform, job creation and deficit reduction. in fact, interestingly, he is somewhat critical of president obama on gun-control and you are very well positioned to talk about this issue, as your last book is called "glock." talk about this issue of gun control. >> well, i mean, you accurately point out the major's endorsement of president obama for re-election was a qualified endorsement. it was not an enthusiastic across the board the mayor said he was very disappointed in presidentn aa number of issues but overall, he strongly favors enough for romney. one of the issues in which he and a number of other people who are advocates of stiffer gun control are disappointed is the fact president obama, since his
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been in office, his release that on his hands in connection with the debate have any do the regulation of gun ownership and the marketing of guns in this country. similar, i think, to the calculation limate, is a a political calculation. the president decided not to spend political capital fighting to stiffen federal regulation of guns. you can debate whether that was sensible politically or ninth, but that was the calculation being made. the question is whether he will be listening more closely and more prone to be influenced by people like mike bloomberg in a second term and would go to congress with proposals to tighten up federal gun-control. i cannot answer that question.
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i don't know whether it will or not, but that is clearly something that many liberals and bloomberg on the gun issue is certainly a liberal, have been very upset with the obama administration the last four years. it is an open question as to whether obama would take the risk of taking on the nra and taking o very, very potent pro- gun forces that exist in congress in a second term. >> interestingly, as we talk about climate change not been raised in the three presidential debates by either moderate or the presidential candidate, it was somewhat similar with the gun control, the brady campaign against gun violence, waged a campaign to get the moderator of the first presidential debate in denver to ask a question a autut gun violence. it was in colorado, columbine,
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and bharara. the only time it was raised in the second of it was not because of a moderator, but because it was a town hall at hofstra and a regular citizen asked the question. >> and i thought the answer to that question was very revealing. you noticed, if you go back and e that transcript, president obama -- you notice, if you go back and look of that transcript, president obama basically give a tribute to the second amendment saying, well, the first thing to say is we of the second amendment -- which we do -- and we respect gun rights which are enshrined in the second amendment, we have a supreme court decision that allows citizens to own guns and so forth. i thought it was striking that on the democratic side, given the emphasis was on gun rights
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when the question was about stiffer regulation of gun ownership. this is an illustration of how much a debate over guns has tilted in favor of the guns rights position. we really have had a huge move over the past 10 to 12 years in this country from a position where gun-control something we actively debated in congress to a situation or even raising the topic is seen as too risky by democrats. romney flatly said across the board, i won't even talk about it. i won't even consider it. absolutely no need to think about the regulation of guns. there is a difference in the candidates, but there is a significant difference that obama seems to send a signal that this was still not going to be a priority. >> paul barrett thank you for
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being with us. his cover story is called, "it's global warming, stupid." we will have a link to that act democracynow.org. you can also read my weekly column on democracynow.org. this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. when we come back, the relief efforts. we go to chinatown. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we are broadcasting breauboth fm new york city and st. louis public television. another area of new york city
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hit hard by the aftereffects of superstorm sandy is chinatown, where many businesses weree shuttered thursday. residents without power, some stranded on high floors of apartment buildings. a group as been leading a relief effort with volunteers' disturbing supplies, canvassing buildings. thursday, activists and volunteers handed out food, water, batteries and other aid to hundreds of people outside the group's office. in a few minutes, we will be joined by the executive director, helena wong. first, this report from amy littlefield. >> we are here in chinatown, where you can see, people are lined up around the block trying to get food, supplies, an affirmation. they have been hit hard here by the superstorm sandy and we're going to talk with an organizer who has been here time help our people. >> other buildings have no access. >> my name is helena wong.
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we're here today and from office in chinatown where we have been providing relief and information for people who have been impacted by hurricane sandy and chinatowns lower east side. >> i was on a bus when someone told me there was food out here. i figured i would come back around it when i got here, about what i needed. i told them, i will volunteer for work. i did three tours in one day, climbing buildings all to the 28th floor. taking food to the people who cannot do it on their own. >> [indiscernible] from the first floor to the 24th floor. >> you have to walk up to the 20th floor? >> yes.
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before i felt terrible, but a couple of days now, i am accustomed to it. i'd like this exercise. >> he was saying he really needs to get electricity and there is no water, even. and it is really hard to get through day-by-day. electricity.no water or@ we have been just walking around to look for supplies. >> i think those most impacted, it is pretty clear from the folks on line, a lot of immigrants, a lot of elderly with families, people who live in public housing, people on public assistance, people who are disabled. we have seen everybody come
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through. >> that last voice, helena wong, executive director of cab, organizing asian communities. first, i want to take a moment to thank and former fellow nancy kong and cab volunteer who both provided translations. for more, we talk to helena wong about the impact of superstorm sandy on chinatown. glad we can get you into a studio in new york that is above the line where there is doubt electricity. just 20 blocks from where you are is "democracy now!" studios and we are still in blackout mode with no electricity there. helena wong, talk about chinatown. what is your doi and can you make some comparisons to help organize and asian communities, how it worked after 9/11 as
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devastation? chinatown was right near where the world trade tower was. >> thank you for having me. it has been pretty crazy. a went on to chinatown on tuesday right after the storm and there's nobody on the streets. everybody was still in their apartments and their homes was visiting our members, they're all singing had no information. that is when we realized this was going to be major crisis for folks because we knew a lot of the attention was on wall street and other parts of new york city. we knew there is nothing that would be translated. i have been glued to1 to 1 and other news channels and ok. i was pretty -- i felt like i had information. when i went down, it is clear no one had any information and that was the biggest thing. people had enough food for a couple of days. they did not know how long the
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electricity would be out or when the trains would come on, whether there were school. on wednesday, we began to provide relief efforts. up until yesterday afternoon, that is when we heard about our city elected officials, leadership and fema coming to the community. we're thankful they are there now, but it has been a few days and people have come to is really hungry, hungry for information also, and just starting for more contact. post september 11, it was a lot of the same thing except chinatown was barely livable then as well. again, not a lot of information and then. there were a lot of help in packs people did not know about at the time. we are saying -- after september 11, i remember seeing military tanks in the street, but n getting information about where people shoul go, what theyey should do. a lot of similar situations now.
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>> you gave aid to more than 700 people so far. charging more than 200 cellphones. charging funds is not just a minor issue, it is people's only form of communication, a link to the outside world. and quite dangerous times right now. >> that is correct. so we charged over or about 100phones the first day, about 200 yesterday. we can only charge them for about 20 minutes each. a lot of time accounts still does not have cellular access, but people feel like it is the only way they can get connected. and neck and actually walk to areas where there is a little bit access. we have had lines around the block just for that. we have turned so many people away.
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there's s su a need to feell connected and feel like -- and other loved ones are ok. >> the issue of gentrification. how does it affect what you're trying to do right now? >> the issue of gentrification has been going on in new york city for a long time. it is about who is the city for? what we have been expressing for a long time is that a lot of committee of colors are getting displaced and it is really -- a lot of communities of color are getting displaced. it is clear the focus is going to be focused on areas -- is clear the focus is going to be on people with wealth. it is sad to see that is the priority of the leadership of the city. >> thank you, helena wong, executive director of caav,
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organizing asian communities. she is organizing in chinatown, right next to the new york stock exchange -- wall street. we want to encourage people to join us to stand up for in the election night special. go to democracynow.org for details. we continue to make our way back to new york but tonight, we will be in houston, texas at 7:00 at th. monday night, we will be at barnes and noble at 6:00 in new york if the electricity is restored. with a remarkable team of people. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. captioning. e-mail your comments to
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tavis: good evening. from los angeles, i am tavis smiley. tonight a conversationh

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